The New England Patriots pulled off a surprise when they signed quarterback Cam Newton to a one-year, incentive-laden contract to compete for the starting position left by Tom Brady, who signed a two-year contract worth $50 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. It was previously reported that the Patriots had no interested in signing Newton, the 2015 Most Valuable Player (MVP) who led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 that same year. However, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson of ESPN reported on Sunday that the Patriots signed Newton to a deal, putting him in a spot to compete for the starting job left by Brady with second-year player Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer.

Various media reports earlier indicated that the starting job is Stidham to lose, but with the Newton’s signing, it looks like the young quarterback needs more time to develop and learn the NFL ropes by watching the former MVP in action.

Brady reacts to Patriots’ move

Brady, for his part, looked like he welcomed Newton’s signing based on his comment on an Instagram post by the NFL announcing the Patriots’ move, per a report by Dakota Randall of New England Sports Network. In his comment, Brady said “@underarmour QBs” which he followed by two 100 emojis. Brady and Newton are both endorsers of Under Armour. Newton played just two games last season as he dealt with a fractured bone in his foot. If fully healthy, the Patriots could capitalize on Newton’s athleticism and his capacity to make big-time plays.

In his nine seasons with the Panthers, Newton recorded a 68-55-1 record and threw 29,041 yards for 182 touchdowns. In 2015, he bagged the NFL MVP trophy and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year honor. In his career, he made it to three Pro Bowl appearances (2011, 2013, 2015) and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2015. The Panthers released Newton after signing Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal worth in excess of $60 million.

Starting job not in the bag for Cam

In a separate report by Randall, he indicated that the starting position is not yet in the bag for Newton. Randall cited a column by Jeff Howe of The Athletic where the latter said that Newton is not yet guaranteed to take the starting job vacated by Brady, who was the Patriots’ starter for two decades.

Howe added that the move has nothing to do with Stidham’s performance in the virtual offseason workout program. Howe added that the Patriots had no interest in signing Newton but changed their mind after the quarterback softened his contract demands. Based on reports, Newton is set to earn up to $7.5 million from his deal with the Patriots. On Monday, Newton confirmed the signing on his Instagram account, posting “I’m excited as I don’t know what right now!!” he wrote. “All praise to god!! Dropping content tomorrow!! I hope you’re ready!! #LETSgoPATS”